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Progress On Miracle Mile Problems Leaves Door Open For Businesses

STOCKTON – The owner of the structure along the Miracle Mile where nine businesses were forced to shut down earlier this summer has reached a tentative deal with the City of Stockton.

Both sides met last week to discuss those plans as they work to move forward and get those empty storefronts filled again.

Brandon Wiggins is the co-founder of the Vibe, an entertainment group that often performed at Empresso Café on the Miracle Mile. When the city forced businesses in the building to vacate, his program was also affected.

“For our group, it was hard. It was sad to see such a great establishment be moved,” said Wiggins.

On June 7, nine businesses were given notice and an order to vacate after city leaders said the building had dangerous and hazardous code violations. The attorney for building owner, Christopher Bennit claims they were not aware of any life safety violations.

“It’s been difficult for a lot of people obviously, not only the business owners, the tenants but my client as well. It’s an unfortunate thing for the entire city,” said Anthony Vignolo, attorney for Bennit.

Bennit has been working with design professionals to get the building back to code and allow businesses to return. Both Bennit and the city have agreed on a proposal that involves a few different steps.

“The first submission, which is going to be Sept. 8, is going to be what is called a shell improvement package, essentially identifying the as-built condition of the shell for each of the suites of the property,” said Vignolo.

The first plan addresses the southern half of the property, fixing things like exposed wires. This portion of the building is fairly new and was subject to very few issues of the notice of violations. The second plan is a “tenant improvement package”, which focuses on each individual suite.

“I would love to see this business come back as well as everybody else’s that’s been affected,” said Wiggins.

It could take several weeks before each proposal is approved by the city, but both sides are eager to bring life back into a once-booming part of the miracle mile.

“As far as getting the first suite back up and running and occupied, we’re still probably a few months out, at a minimum,” said Vignolo.

Phase one of the repairs to the structure is due on Sept. 8. City officials have to approve the plan before moving on to the next phase.

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